Beware of the Future
Red hair is sexy. Since the 80ies latest, we know that red-haired scientists can be cool and heroic at the same time. No, we're not talking of Robert Redford who might have inspired the looks of Captain Future’s animé version, but of the captain himself – the brain child of Edmond Hamilton, a US pulp writer who then had already gained a reputation as writing maniac and „world wrecker“. In the 40ies, a time where many super heroes (Superman, Batman, etc.) came to see the light of day, Hamilton devellopped his maybe most well-known character – Curtis Newton, a brilliant young scientist, who, under the nom de guerre "Captain Future", chases interstellar criminals together with his three-man crew. In 20 epic adventures, Future and his men (Grag, the robot, Otho, the android, and Prof. Simon Wright, the "living brain") are fighting evil, righting wrongs and serve up justice in the universe – that's space opera at it's best.
Future’s adventures were mostly unknown in Europe – the potential and the ideas which can be found in the fanciful worlds that are home to the captain and his crew, simply got overlooked. „Captain Future“ surely would have fallen into oblivion, had not TOEI Animation digged out this treasure and turned it into an animated cartoon series by end of the 70es. The series which features 13 of Hamilton's novels (and is astonishingly true to the original) aired in Japan in 1978 before it came to European TV screens from 1979 on. At that time, a space adventure cartoon elaborate like this one was something completely new and therefore came as a real bombshell – especially in Spain, Italy, France and Germany, the series was a big success and thus can be seen as a predecessor of today's animés. However, cartoons and animés still are regarded as "children's stuff" especially in the eyes of many Germans; this might explain why the German version was heavily cut and the dubbing somewhere between "clinical" and "stiff"…
Nevertheless, those Germans who grew up with "Captain Future" look back with fondness on those days and still reminisce about the captain's fantastic adventures. The fandom that arose around the series might not be as large and organized as the Star Trek fandom, but fans of the series can be found throughout the whole country – they organize movie nights here and there, create fan websites or meet on social media. Or they live their dreams: the probably most prominent (and most popular) Captain Future fan (at least as a kid) has served twice aboard the International Space Station ISS (Alexander Gerst), where he proudly showed up in a Captain-Future-t-shirt. So when German director Christian Alvart announced in 2010 that he would turn the series into a live action movie, fans were enthusiastic. This enthusiasm, however, ebbed away with every year that went by without a life sign of the CF movie. By end of 2022, Alvart finally revealed that he had given away the project to production company Wiedemann & Berg (1). The big reset... Well, W & B is part of the Leonine Group which had put much effort into the subtitles of the Japanese Version when they published it 2016, and fans hope that this - at least - is a good sign.
"Captain Future" is cult. At least in Europe, people know that. And the rest of the world...? Maybe sleeps through one of the greatest space adventures…
"BadaBinge" Interview, Nov. 2022 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XBCtSoDfLY